The Super Eagles took home their second consecutive 7’s Football League title after prevailing in an intense penalty shootout with archrival Ghana FC on Monday night at the McKinley Hill Stadium.
Ghana thought it was just a minute away from edging its Nigerian counterpart after Sam Adams broke the ice with a 33rd-minute goal.
However, Fidelis Nnabuife struck the equalizer in the 49th minute to eventually force the shootout.
The shootout, which was initially scheduled for three rounds, lasted longer until it boiled down to the 10th pair of penalties.
Abou Ibrahim, who seemed aware of Emmanuel Donkor’s tendencies, opted to move a bit to the right just as Donkor was about to launch his penalty. And that move turned out to be a good one, as Donkor’s spot-kick attempt went straight to Ibrahim, setting up an opportunity for Super Eagles to win it on the next kick.
Lawrence Ikegoruka then sent his penalty kick to the top right corner of the goal to give Super Eagles the championship.
In a similar fashion, the All-Star Game in the curtain-raiser also went to penalties, with a selection of past and present national team players prevailing over the 7’s Football League All-Stars.
A late second-half barrage from the Azkals Legends selection in just a span of 30 seconds canceled out a brace from All-Star Daniel Matsunaga, before they went 3-for-3 in the spot-kick showdown.
The actor opened account with an eighth-minute goal before completing his two-goal showing with a 40th-minute strike.
But Kevin Ingreso put the Azkals Legends on the board in the 46th minute, before Mark Hartmann quickly scored the equalizer also within the 46th minute.
Aly Borromeo, who took over the goalkeeping post from guest player Jeff Blake late into the contest, forced Hamed Hajimehdi to bring his penalty off the post before bouncing out to preserve the Azkals Legends’ lead through Anton Del Rosario’s first strike.
Matsunaga still kept the All-Stars in the shootout after answering Stephan Schrock’s penalty, but Hartmann delivered the dagger in the third round of the shootout.